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  • Whether your business is new in the world of online marketing or has been in it for a while, you probably know online marketing is always changing and evolving. What you may not know is how often search engines update their algorithm to better serve their users – sometimes resulting in you falling behind in your SEO efforts. You can expect almost monthly named updates by Google, but it’s been reported that the algorithm is adjusted thousands of times every year

    That’s a lot of updates for you as a business owner to keep up with. This makes strategic SEO planning difficult for you and your team.

    You may not even know what to do to make your website perform better. At Exults, you’ll find a team with expertise in web design, ROI-focused marketing campaigns, and, of course, the real keys to keyword research. Track the results your company wants and needs to succeed through the online marketing campaigns we set up for your business. 

    If you’re ready to reach your target audience (and beyond), keep reading to learn how keywords influence SEO ranking in 2024. 

    Searching for a reliable digital marketing agency? Exults is the answer!

    Are Keywords Important For SEO?

    In short, yes. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has, from the beginning, been a big factor in Internet marketing success. Whether you consider yourself a novice or an expert at SEO and keywords, they have always been crucial components in SEO.

    However, as the digital landscape changed, it became harder for entrepreneurs to keep up with SEO demands for their businesses. Most business owners rarely have extra time on their hands, much less the time required to conduct SEO research, review analytics, and make relevant changes to see improvements. So what do you do now? Dropping SEO altogether isn’t a good option as keywords are still a crucial factor in the Google ranking algorithm. But they are not the only critical factor to consider. 

    Understanding Keyword Density

    Keyword density was previously only the descriptor, but today the focus turns to key phrases rather than single words. Keyphrase density is the percentage of the keyphrase that appears in your content as related to the total content. Simply explained, if your content contains 100 words, with four being your keyphrase, your keyphrase density is four percent. 

    Keyphrase density is significant for your SEO because Google matches search queries with web pages. To make the connection, Google must know what your webpage contains. The key phrases in your content then accomplish this task naturally. Of course, the challenge arises in overusing the keyphrase, which makes your content boring for your visitors. Not only that, but it also makes Google suspect you are over-optimizing and in turn have the opposite effect – negatively affecting your rankings. This methodology is referred to as keyword stuffing. 

    Simply put, keyword stuffing is a manipulative technique that Google can and will penalize you (or your content) for doing. The following are a few ways keyword stuffing can damage your SEO efforts…

    • Lowered ranking
    • Complete removal from search results
    • Non-sharable content
    • Blacklisted website

    Contact Exults digital marketing agency for forward-thinking solutions.

    Factors That Influence Google Ranking: Keywords, Keyphrases, & Relevance 

    Keywords or keyphrases are still relevant in 2024 as one of the main ranking factors used by Google and popular search engines. While they are no longer the only ranking factor for your website, you still need to include accurate, quality keywords to show up as relevant to the user’s search. 

    What are the other ranking factors you need to consider? Well, Google algorithm now ranks on more than 200 factors, including a blend of quality, content, inbound and outbound links, navigation, speed, social media shares, and more. Let’s dive into the most important factors you need to be aware of when DIYing or even outsourcing your SEO efforts. 

    Keywords & Key Phrases

    On top of that, it is important to realize Google does not require exact matches for keywords and keyphrases any longer, which has changed the way internet marketing strategists operate. As the search engine becomes more human and gains greater intelligence, Google more easily understands natural language.

    As a result, the over-repetition of keywords in your content can make your website be deemed less valuable and untrustworthy. Today, developing your content toward greater natural readability and the actual way a human user would search for information yields greater benefits. 

    When you optimize, you should at least look at the following:

    • Title tags are HTML code tags that offer the benefit of you giving each web page an appropriate title.
    • Meta descriptions use HTML elements that allow you to give a summary of what your web pages are about, appearing as a search snippet in search engine results.
    • Image alt text is search engine-processed and can be read aloud by screen reading software. The text behind this image should explain its relation to the content on the page.
    • Anchor text also appears as a hyperlink or clickable text that takes a user to a different web page. This text is usually underlined and shown in blue.
    • Headers or header tags on a webpage are used to separate headings and subheadings, which should provide comprehensive information on the content you’re covering.
    • Slug is part of a web page’s URL that comes after “.com”. A few examples of this include “/services/search/seo/” for Exults’ SEO web page and “/company/” for Exults’ About Us web page.

    Readability Counts

    Before dismissing the importance of readability, know that search engines do account for it when ranking search results. You may be familiar with readability if you use plug-ins and applications like Readable and AIOSEO for WordPress.

    To be clear, readability does not simply mean running a spelling and grammar check. While extremely beneficial for correctness, these suggestions don’t necessarily account for the readability of your entire copy. Readability measures how easy it is for your readers to comprehend the information you’re providing. Whether in a blog, article, or website page, you don’t want to ignore the power of content with a high readability score.

    Reader comprehension often gets lost in newly created content. This usually happens when the writer is overly focused on keywords, ignoring the flow of their copy. Low readability also happens in writing with too many advanced words or lengthy sentences.

    The way your content appears also has an impact on its readability. Big blocks of text only, for example, are unattractive and difficult to read. There should be a visual representation for various sections, lists, and key points to make it easy to follow.

    Bonus Tip: Read your copy out loud and see if it sounds right to you. If any spots are confusing, adjust them with simplicity in mind. If you’re still unsure, try giving your writing to someone you trust to provide honest feedback about it regarding clarity, word choice, sentence length, and overall messaging. 

    Relevance Matters

    Something that also influences ranking is content relevance. Your content must match the keywords or keyphrases it’s trying to rank for. You don’t want your content to be about “gluten-free recipes” when you’re trying to rank for “personal injury attorneys in Boston”. While that example is a little bit of a stretch, you get the point. Your content needs to match the keywords it’s ranking for. 

    Why does it need to be relevant? Google is a business like yours. If they were to return a page ranked for one keyword but the content inside is entirely different, users aren’t going to be happy. They may even turn to a different search engine entirely. To avoid these potential issues, Google consistently filters through all content to bring only relevant topic results to its users. At the end of the day, make sure that you’re not keyword stuffing and that you’re producing suitable content that matches its keywords.

    Use E-E-A-T

    What does E-E-A-T stand for? And why has E-E-A-T become such a big part of ranking on Google? 

    E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness. It’s important to display each of these four guidelines throughout your SEO content. Anyone can write and publish their own content in an attempt to gain clicks. But for marketing professionals, there is a certain framework that copywriters and content creators use to develop engaging content that flows.

    Struggling to implement the E-E-A-T system? Try this:

    • Provide accurate information about the topic
    • Tell a personal story or a client story about the given topic
    • Show how you’re an authority by shining some thought leadership
    • Weave trust factors throughout your content (i.e. testimonials, reviews, case studies, etc.)

    Call 877-437-3672 for a top-notch digital marketing team.

    Producing High-Quality Content

    When it comes to the quality of content, you need to consider what we’ve already discussed: readability, relevance, and E-E-A-T. But at the end of the day, ask these 2 questions: 

    • Does my target audience actually want to read this content? 
    • Can I easily skim this content?

    For the latter question, consider the structure of your content. Readers do not want to read a 2,000 block of words. Instead, they want to quickly skim to find what they are looking for. You can do this by including H2, H3, and H4 headers in your content. This organizes your ideas, and topics, and ultimately makes them skimmable. 

    Another benefit of separating your content into headers is Google can skim the content and pick lists to show them as featured snippets in a given search query. Remember, using lists and tables is a good way to showcase ideas with 3 or more points.  

    Expand Content Length

    Previously, a 500-word blog would suffice. But today, the average word count for the first 10 positions on a search engine results page is 1,890 words (MonsterInsights). Content length aside, you still need to consider what word count will cover a given topic adequately. Regardless of the exact word count, your blog should ultimately achieve your reader’s goal for their search (this is called search intent). 

    At Exults, we’re expanding the word count to an average of 2,000-3,000 words. This allows us to target multiple keywords, cover a given topic more completely, and provide more opportunities for Google to scrap us.

    Not sure how to expand content length? Consider the following: 

    • Add an expanded FAQ
    • Include definitions (don’t assume your reader knows everything)
    • Answer the who, what, when, where, and why of the topic

    SEO Keyword FAQs

    Have SEO keyword questions? Look no further.

    Is Keyword Placement Important? 

    While exactly matched keywords may be a thing of the past, the placement of relevant keywords can still work to help Google identify your content’s intent, and help your webpage. Pertinent keywords should be placed high on the page (title, introduction, description).

    This type of placement is crucial when Google indexes your site making it more identifiable. It is equally important to remember SEO and Google continually update its algorithm, making it necessary to be aware of industry updates and adapt your website content accordingly. 

    What Are Seasonal Keywords? 

    Your content strategy is crucial in optimizing engagement and boosting your rankings, but what about seasonal keywords? Should they be incorporated into your content, and if so, how? Seasonal keywords are simply the words and phrases internet users search at particular times of the year – Christmas, Super Bowl, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Olympics  – you get the idea. If you develop evergreen content or content relevant all year long, you might find seasonal keywords are detrimental to your long-term SEO efforts. 

    On the other hand, they can boost traffic to your site when used effectively, particularly if your competition doesn’t utilize them. To use seasonal keywords to your advantage, you will want to check out the forecast for their relevance at Google Insights, post your seasonal content before the season, and remain faithful to your long-term SEO goals as well. 

    Where Should I Use Short-Tail & Long-Tail Keywords?

    Social interaction and engagement are crucial in the world of digital advertising and internet marketing. Your business has to stand out and be unique from the competition. It also must understand and connect with your target audience. To do so, you have to maintain relevant advertising, from landing pages to advertisements, utilizing SEO successfully. SEO means the use of keywords, which includes short-tail and long-tail keywords. Let’s dive in. 

    Long-tail keywords can be useful in title tags, Meta Data, and throughout your content, but you must keep your main focus on relevant content and readability.  Short-tail keywords contain a maximum of three words and are the words you would think of first when initiating a search. They tend to return large amounts of traffic as a result. Long-tail keywords are more targeted, attracting your target audience but not much more. 

    Both long-tail and short-tail keywords can work to your advantage, but long-tail keywords tend to work best. Long-tail promises substantial, more targeted volume with a higher click-through rate (CTR) and lower cost per click (CPC) resulting in higher positions and increased conversions. Short-tail keywords can deliver lots of traffic to your site and are easy to develop, but they must flow naturally and easily into your content, registering a higher quality ranking score and relevance to your target audience. 

    Ready to improve SEO for your business? Call 877-437-3672 to work with Exults.

    How Do You Choose SEO Keywords?

    There are several tools that you can use to choose SEO keywords like Semrush, Google Search Console, Google Trends, and Moz. But at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself:

    • What is my target audience searching for? 
    • What content can you produce that is in line with both your company and what your audience is searching for?
    • Am I using a blend of local and broad keywords?
    • Am I including search terms that are 3-5 words?

    Where Can You Conduct SEO Keyword Research?

    There are many tools you can use to conduct SEO keyword research, including: 

    • Semrush
    • Google Trends
    • Google Keyword Planner
    • Moz
    • AnswerThePublic
    • Ahrefs

    Who Can Conduct SEO Keyword Research?

    Anyone can conduct keyword research, as long as they know what they are looking at. The part that is difficult to keep up with for most business owners is the amount of time it takes to create a solid strategy. There are a couple of steps you can take to make it simpler.

    1. Identify topics that are important and relevant to your business. 
    2. Find keywords that can fit into each of those topics.
    3. Measure those keywords against whether your audience would use them to search. 
    4. Find related search terms; this is usually found on the search engine results page. 
    5. Use an SEO tool to help conclude the keywords you need to focus on first. 
    6. Maintain a document including all potential keywords for your business and update it quarterly (at least).

    What SEO Terms Do I Need To Know Before Conducting Keyword Research?

    Here are several terms that you may come across while researching and what they mean:

    • Keyword or Keyphrase is a term that a user will search to find your website
    • Keyword Difficulty is the score of how difficult a company will have to work to outrank a competitor for the same keyword
    • Monthly Search Volume (MSV) is the number of times a keyword is searched each month
    • Regional Keywords are terms that are specific to a region or population
    • Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the list of search results

    The Keys To Keyword Success

    Keyword success comes via SEO research, understanding your target audience, and developing the best strategy for your business. Exults is ready to help you meet all your SEO needs and optimize your website for success. Reach out today!

    Unsure how you’re going to reach your SEO goals? Contact Exults for forward-thinking strategies.

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